Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 54, Issue 2, pp 1255–1266 | Cite as

A robust 3D superhydrophobic sponge for in situ continuous oil removing

  • Huicai WangEmail author
  • Jibin Yang
  • Xiaping Liu
  • Zhongan Tao
  • Zhenwen Wang
  • Ruirui Yue
Chemical routes to materials


A variety of materials with superwetting property are fabricated for separation of immiscible oils/organic solvents and water mixture. However, the complex fabrication process, requirement of sophisticated equipment, and associated toxicity strongly limit the development of the superwetting materials. In this paper, a simple two-step dip coating strategy is demonstrated to prepare polydopamine-octadecanethiol modified 3D porous sponge with superhydrophobic and superoleophilic properties (a water contact angle of 156.8° ± 2.5° and an oil contact angle of nearly 0°) through the combination of enhanced surface roughness and low surface energy coating for separation of oil/water mixture. The as-prepared superhydrophobic sponges possess high porosity (greater than 99.2%), low density (below 10 mg/cm3), and 3D porous network structure, which meet well with the needs for adsorption of the actual oil pollutions. More importantly, in situ continuous removal of oil from oil/water mixture is successfully accomplished via a vacuum-assisted system, even in the corrosive environments including turbulent situation, heat, acidic, alkaline, seawater, and glacial water. The continuous oil collection system could avoid the limit in adsorption saturation effectively. We believe that the superhydrophobic sponge with easy large-scale production, economical, and environmentally friendly characteristics can be a superior candidate for the treatment of oily wastewater and practical oil spill accidents.



This work was supported by Science and Technology Projects of Tianjin (Grant No. 16ZXHLSF00200), and the Undergraduate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program of Tianjin Polytechnic University (201770058094).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10853_2018_2938_MOESM1_ESM.docx (5.2 mb)
SEM images of the sponge coated with different concentrations of PDA (Fig. S1), SEM–EDX mapping of the PDA-ODT coated sponge (Fig S2), XPS spectrum and FTIR spectra (Fig S3), Digital image of the sliding angle, Photograph of droplets on the PDA-modified sponge, Variation of the WCAs of the sponges with different ODT concentrations, Photograph of the PDA-ODT-modified sponge immersed in water (Fig S4), The water contact angles of different pH droplet on the sponge (Fig S5), Photograph of the superhydrophobic sponge abraded by sandpaper and the variation of WCA after abrasion for 50 times by sandpaper (Fig S6), Photographs of the gravity-driven separation for n-hexane/water mixture (Fig S7), The purity of the collected oil under harsh situations (Fig S8), Video of the dynamic adhesion test (Movie S1), The gravity-driven separation process for chloroform/water and hexane/water mixture, respectively (Movie S2 and Movie S3), Video of the continuous oil-removing system (Movie S4), Video of the continuous oil-removing under turbulent situation (Movie S5). (DOCX 5370 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (AVI 1450 kb)

10853_2018_2938_MOESM3_ESM.avi (4.3 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (AVI 4409 kb)
10853_2018_2938_MOESM4_ESM.avi (8.5 mb)
Supplementary material 4 (AVI 8655 kb)
10853_2018_2938_MOESM5_ESM.avi (8.8 mb)
Supplementary material 5 (AVI 9000 kb)
10853_2018_2938_MOESM6_ESM.avi (5.8 mb)
Supplementary material 6 (AVI 5969 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Chemical EngineeringTianjin Polytechnic UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Separation Membranes and Membrane ProcessesTianjin Polytechnic UniversityTianjinChina

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